2013 Hyundai Elantra Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2013 Hyundai Elantra Sedan

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Hyundai Elantra Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.8 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 148 hp @ 6500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 28/38 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2013 Hyundai Elantra

  • Thanks to head-turning styling, a fuel-efficient engine, a long list of standard safety features and upscale options, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra stands as a top pick for a compact sedan.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Lots of features for the money; comfortable and well-built cabin; large trunk; long warranty coverage; distinctive styling.

  • Cons

    Limited rear headroom; not as sporty as some rivals.

  • What's New for 2013

    For 2013, the Hyundai Elantra sedan is pretty much unchanged, though Hyundai has introduced new Elantra coupe and hatchback body styles. They are reviewed separately.

Full 2013 Hyundai Elantra Review

What's New for 2013

For 2013, the Hyundai Elantra sedan is pretty much unchanged, though Hyundai has introduced new Elantra coupe and hatchback body styles. They are reviewed separately.


The Hyundai Elantra is what we'd affectionately call a late bloomer. Models produced during the 1990s were pretty terrible and not suited for much more than late-night-show joke fodder. But Hyundai has been continually making improvements over the years, highlighted by a dramatic redesign two years ago. As such, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra now stands as one of the best choices for a compact car, eclipsing even more well-known choices from Honda and Toyota.

Distinctive styling is certainly one of the Elantra's main draws. Although obviously a subjective opinion, the Elantra's sleek bodywork helps it stand out in the popular small sedan segment. Under the Elantra's sheet metal is a 1.8-liter engine that provides respectable performance as well as frugal fuel economy.

Inside, the Elantra boasts a daring design theme and rich-looking materials. There's plenty of headroom for passengers, and although the Elantra's sleek style does cut into rear seat headroom a little, the trunk is one of the roomiest you'll find in this class. In typical Hyundai fashion, the Elantra is also equipped with plenty of standard features, plus some unexpected options including heated front and rear seats and keyless ignition/entry.

Just like the Elantra, however, the small-sedan segment is not what it once was. It's now brimming with excellent choices, such as the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, 2013 Ford Focus and 2013 Mazda 3. The Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla are also still worth a look. Comparison shopping is a must. But overall we think the 2013 Hyundai Elantra is a great choice in this group.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra sedan is available in GLS and Limited trims.

The GLS comes with 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, full power accessories, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a trip computer and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

Optional on the GLS (automatic transmission) is the Preferred package, which adds 16-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, upgraded interior trim, heated front seats, a sliding front center armrest, illuminated vanity mirrors, steering wheel audio controls and Bluetooth. An auto-dimming rearview mirror is a stand-alone option.

The Limited sedan adds all of the GLS Preferred equipment plus 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, leather upholstery, a power driver seat and heated front and rear seats. Pushing the Elantra Limited's luxury factor even higher is the available Technology package, which adds automatic headlamps, keyless ignition/entry, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, an upgraded sound system, Bluetooth streaming audio and a touchscreen navigation system with voice activation, real-time traffic, weather and other information.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2013 Hyundai Elantra has front-wheel drive and comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque. Vehicles sold in California-emissions states get a partial zero-emissions vehicle (PZEV) version of this engine, which lowers output to 145 hp and 130 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic is optional except on the Limited sedan, which comes standard with the automatic.

In Edmunds performance testing with a non-PZEV engine, an Elantra Limited sedan went from zero to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds -- slightly slower than average. EPA fuel economy estimates are the same for each transmission, with 29 mpg city/40 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined. In our testing, however, we've noticed that the Elantra struggles to achieve its highway number in real-world driving.


The 2013 Hyundai Elantra's list of standard safety features includes traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, active front head restraints, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, an Elantra Limited took 125 feet to stop from 60 mph -- an average distance for the segment.

In government crash testing, the 2013 Elantra received a perfect five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for overall frontal impact protection and five stars for overall side impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Elantra earned a top score of "Good" for its performance in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Elantra's interior features a curved center stack and stylized climate controls that provide a bit of extra flair while still being easy to use. The design is attractive and the materials, while not quite best-in-class, at least have a rich look to them. With available high-end features like leather seating, heated front and rear seats, an excellent navigation system and a rearview camera, you can even equip an Elantra to luxury-car levels.

In general, the Elantra offers a lot more space than you'd expect from a compact car. Headroom up front is plentiful for 6-footers and the steering wheel is a bit smaller in diameter than usual, which enhances the sense of space in the first row. The backseat is fine for kids and even most adults, though vertically gifted folks will find its abundant legroom and shortage of headroom a mixed blessing.

The Elantra sedan features a large trunk with 14.8 cubic feet of cargo room, a generous number for this segment. The 60/40-split pass-through is also quite large.

Driving Impressions

While the 2013 Hyundai Elantra isn't quite as exciting to drive as it is to look at, it's certainly not dull. The 1.8-liter engine has plenty of pep for daily driving, and the six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and willingly downshifts. The cabin is a relatively quiet place, with little wind noise to speak of, though there is enough road and engine noise to remind you that the Elantra is still a compact economy car rather than the more expensive sedan it appears to be.

If you're looking for some driving fun in this class, know that the Elantra doesn't have the outright handling abilities of the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus and Mazda 3. Those cars simply feel a little more sophisticated. But in general, the Elantra's balance between ride and handling is one of the best in the segment.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Follow up review: i wouldn't

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Elantra GLS PZEV 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A)

Sadly, my experience with my car since my last review has soured me on it. I originally purchased it in June of 2012. In the last year, I have experienced multiple issues which make me question the long-term reliability, quality and engineering of this car. My issue with intermittent rough idle continues unabated, whether using or not using the a/c. It is clearly not an engine load issue. As well, now the transmission has developed an absolutely maddening metallic clicking sound intermittently when accelerating from a stop, or a roll, and sometimes when letting off the throttle. There is also a tick in the engine when it hasn't fully warmed up. This car is a "good looker" with a black heart.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Don't buy a hyundai

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Elantra GLS PZEV 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A)

Hyundai is making defective vehicles that destroy tires. They will not acknowledge the defect. A few customers have been lucky and had their rear axles replaced at no cost, but most customers will just be told nothing is wrong and it must be the way they are driving or some other nonsense. I have 40k miles and have gone through 3 sets of tires on the rear. The set I have on now cupped badly within 5k miles and makes the car vibrate and very noisy. Both the dealership and the company will not acknowledge or fix the problem. Do your research before you buy this car. You will see there are many people having problems with rear tire wear/ handling/ noise/ rear axle problems.

Hyndai rewards card for mileage

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Elantra GLS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

This is less a review of this model than of Hyundia in general. In this case, I'm talking about the program to repay customers for when they overstated their EPA estimated mileage. 1st, they "average" the mileage between city and highway. Not so bad, except that they "round" the result to favor themselves. By high school math, whenever you get ".5", it gets averaged upwards. They average it downwards. Thus, for my 2013 Elantra, they were off by "1.5" mpg, so the averaged it to 1 mpg instead of 2. Then they make it very annoying to collect. For example, they don't send you a check, they use a "debit" card which you can't use without looking up your VIN #. Who carries that around?

1 of 6 people found this review helpful

Beware of water

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Elantra Limited 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A)

I purchased the Elantra limited in 2012 after having done a bit of research on the vehicle for mpg, value, and etc. And after driving nearly 78k miles I can say that there are better vehicles for the money. I am on my second set of tires and both sets have horrible road noise that is amplified when stopping on wet pavement. I have had the car looked at by the dealer and they can't find anything. Also the steering wheel would pull to the left since the day I drove the car off the lot to which again the dealer said nothing wrong.

Great styling and warranty, loaded

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Elantra Limited PZEV 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A)

The car is elegant and stylish, inside and out. The tan interior is classy. The Civic was my second choice, but a little too boring (the Corolla even more so). The Elantra has the combination of handling, styling, and fuel economy that were my three main requirements. It's fun to drive. It is nice to look at. The features are many, especially on this trim with the NAV package. The navigation system/stereo/touchscreen is simple to use (you hardly need the manual) and is loaded with convenient features. The integration of XM radio, Internet music sources, external media and phone functions is seamless and convenient. The warranty rocks. The dealership treated me right. Excellent documentation.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Was a great car (at

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Elantra GLS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A)

I bought this car brand new in Oct 2012. I thought it was striking and loved the colors scheme in and out. I was amazed with fuel economy from the git go. I had a 2011 Mazda 2 which got around 32 mpg and was a much smaller car. It got totalled from a sandwich between a Cavalier and an Explorer on I-95 near Richmond VA. I used the car as a courier which was driven 250 miles per day. 40+ mpg was typical on my run cruising at 65 mph. I always got over 400 miles out of a full tank. The Bad: Engine knock after about 50k. Car sounded like it had no oil in it. Interior wear was horrible. Paint came off steering wheel center, seats scotchguarded still stained from hardly anything. Radio issues.

Talk About The 2013 Elantra

Gas Mileage


  • 28
  • cty
  • 38
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Identifix Reliability Ratings

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